This week, Landon Patterson’s dream came true.
The high school senior from Kansas City, Missouri, has wanted to be a part of her school’s homecoming court since her freshman year. Assigned male at birth, Patterson has always known she was a girl and was finally able to transition last May. With all the changes of transition on top of the usual high school busyness, the transgender teen’s homecoming aspirations were probably one of the last things on her mind — until she was surprised by her classmates last month with the news of her nomination to the court.
And during this past weekend’s homecoming game, Patterson was honored with the crown of the homecoming queen in front of her community, to a round of applause from the gathered students and families. Check out that smile!
After the halftime ceremony, Patterson spoke to reporters, telling them she felt like a princess: “To have my students and friends vote for me just really makes me feel welcomed and loved for who I am,” she told local news station Fox 4KC. And we feel thrilled for her!
Most of the stories we see about transgender students are about the obstacles they face: unwelcoming communities, challenges in using the right bathrooms and locker rooms, objections to them playing on sports teams or participating in activities alongside other students. So it’s nice — more than just nice! — to see a transgender student not only accepted and welcomed by the rest of the student body but actually celebrated and honored by them too.
Things can and do get better for transgender kids, and Patterson’s story isn’t the only proof of that. There are schools making efforts to simplify and improve the bathroom situation. There are organizations, like the Girl Scouts, that are working to become more inclusive and welcoming. And there’s better and better representation for transgender characters (and actors) in media, like the character of Nomi on Netflix’s Sense8 series or Laverne Cox’s Sophia on Orange Is the New Black.
Which is not to say that it’s all smooth sailing from here or that anyone’s work as an ally is done. There are plenty of battles left to fight. But for now, it’s nice to be able to take some time to celebrate victories like Patterson’s. We hope she has a fabulous time holding court at the homecoming dance and that the rest of her senior year is just as full of dreams coming true!